Research Hub > How a CSPM Streamlines Your Cloud Security

June 11, 2021

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3 min

How a CSPM Streamlines Your Cloud Security

Cloud security posture management can improve security in 3 key ways.

Sarah Kent

cloud-security-team

Organizations across industries migrate workloads to the public cloud to gain benefits such as worldwide availability and on-demand services. But for many, security is usually an afterthought in the development lifecycle. This reluctance is largely because it can seem daunting to do security well — but it doesn’t have to be. With help from cloud security posture management (CSPM) tools, organizations can bake in security as they innovate.

Learn how a CDW Cloud Security Posture Assessment can help you improve security and compliance.

A complimentary CDW Cloud Security Posture Assessment can show you how CSPM tools can help your organization streamline its cloud security efforts.

Gain Visibility with Inventory Management

Keeping track of assets in one cloud account is challenging, so consider how difficult it will be when you’ve got several cloud accounts for each public cloud service provider (CSP). Inventory management quickly becomes a headache when your organization employs various DevOps teams, software developers and third parties scattered around the globe, supporting your cloud infrastructure in multiple regions. Your organization may consume resources for a temporary project, but these may linger after the project has run its course, adding to overhead costs. You may have well-meaning engineers on staff who unintentionally consume cloud services they don’t fully understand, leading to poorly configured infrastructure and back doors into your environment.

Consider a worst-case scenario: A cybercriminal gains access to a resource that your IT team doesn’t have visibility into, because you don’t deploy other assets there. If no one manages your cloud asset inventory, this unauthorized access could linger for months until someone in accounting starts asking questions.

With a single dashboard, a CSPM gives you visibility into your cloud assets across multiple accounts and CSPs. You can augment your visibility by tagging assets in your cloud environment with user-friendly names that explain the function of the asset and who manages it. Those tags carry through to your CSPM dashboard, so that everyone who reviews it knows who owns what, reducing the time it takes to notify an asset owner of a security issue.

Cut Through the Noise Using Actionable Notifications

If your inbox is overflowing and you can’t keep up with every tool in your arsenal, you may miss critical alerts warning you of a breach. Many traditional controls — including endpoint protection, vulnerability scanning and event management (including security information and event management, or SIEM, tools) — can be deployed in the cloud, yet they leave blind spots for those who monitor cloud environments. And, let’s face it, there’s a skills shortage when dealing with the complexity of cloud environments. Fortunately, many security best practices still pertain to cloud, although you may need to apply them differently to see your cloud environment more clearly.

Ideally, your organization should adopt a twofold philosophy when it comes to cloud security: First, secure from the inside out. Second, address exposures before they are exploited. These principles may sound familiar: An inside-out approach means you start by securing your data and then layer on defenses from there. This will look different with cloud computing services, such as serverless functions and Database as a Service, because the CSP oversees the underlying security of the cloud infrastructure. However, your organization still shares the responsibility of security, and it may be unclear exactly what you’re responsible for. A proactive stance on addressing exposures before they are exploited is what every organization aims for, but it seems more elusive when dealing with the complexity of cloud computing platforms.

Because a CSPM operates by collecting metadata about your configuration, it provides a unique insider’s point of view into your cloud environment. These tools can help you figure out how to start using native CSP controls to secure the services you consume, by continuously monitoring for gaps in each layer of access control, pointing out where your systems don’t comply as soon as misconfigurations arise. The CSPM notifies you through the same communication systems your organization already uses, such as Microsoft Teams, Slack or Jira.

And it doesn’t require a long onboarding process or steep learning curve. The CSPM’s prebuilt reports, based on cybersecurity frameworks, take the guesswork out of ensuring that your cloud environment is compliant; it also generates audit reports. You’ll spend less time managing tools and trying to make sense of what they’re telling you, and more time addressing misconfigurations before they turn into incidents. This is especially helpful when your organization has a well-intentioned team of engineers building the next great thing, and they need reminders or training on best practices to protect your organization’s cloud environment.

Use Automation to Build a Self-Healing Environment

I often hear customers say they recognize that automation is key to their organization’s growth, but they struggle to automate their cloud infrastructure. Not only do they fear that a runaway script may cause more harm than good, but also they may find it hard to start building anything from scratch. If they’re automating at all, they most likely have prioritized developing functions that focus on performance efficiency while security takes a back seat. You’re probably in a similar situation: You recognize your security team’s alert fatigue, but the DevOps team is buried in high-profile projects for the next year. Chances are, DevOps won’t get to your requests for automation that would help you take a proactive stance with cloud security. Meanwhile, you’re concerned about constant changes that may expose your cloud environment to risk.

You don’t have to start from scratch. CSPM tools help you build a self-healing cloud environment by providing autoremediation features that catch, report and address misconfigurations as they happen. You deploy the CSPM’s autoremediation, which integrates with the CSPM and your cloud orchestrator, to maintain compliance for critical assets. So, for example, when someone tries to spin up storage with unfettered access from the internet, the CSPM will notice and restrict it. You set the baseline, and the CSPM enforces it.

By taking advantage of the awesome superpowers of a CSPM, you can streamline the complexity of cloud security and gain insights based on best practices to reduce the risk of exposure to your cloud environment — all in a proactive way that’s easier to manage. And you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Use the built-in reporting and autoremediation features to take your cloud security to the next level.